1. Agriculture World

“Milk is in Our Faith,” Amul MD Hits Out at PETA

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
MD of Amul Mr. R. S. Sodhi

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had never imagined in their wildest dreams that their one statement could send ripples over social media and they would be trolled mercilessly. It all started when PETA asked Amul, the milk giant of India, to decide switching to producing vegan milk.  

Excerpts from the PETA letter 

The letter was addressed to MD of Amul, R. S. Sodhi and talked of how the diary cooperative society could benefit from the flourishing vegan milk and food market. PETA said this while citing a report of 2018 by Cargill, a global food corporation, which says that the global demand of dairy products is decreasing, as it is, no longer, regarded as an important part of diet.  

PETA claimed that globally-renowned companies like Danone and Nestle are busy acquiring stakes in non-dairy milk sector. Amul should also think of venturing out into the vegan product sector.  

They added that the Covid-10 pandemic made people aware of the relation between zoonotic viruses and diseases. According to them, Amul should utilize 45,000 plant species available in India and capitalize on the vegan market, which is fast emerging.  

"We would again like to encourage Amul to benefit from the booming vegan food and milk market, instead of wasting resources trying to fight the demand for plant-based products that is only growing. Other companies are responding to market changes, and Amul can too."  

This did not go down well with the social media audience and with Amul’s MD, who gave an intelligent reply to PETA’s letter.  

Amul’s reply to PETA 

Mr. Sodhi replied to PETA via twitter, “Don't you know dairy farmers are mostly landless. Your designs may kill their only source of livelihood. Mind it milk is in our faith, our traditions, our taste, our food habits an easy and always available source of nutrition." 

In response to switching to vegan milk, Mr. Sodhi added, “will they give livelihood to 100 million dairy farmers (70% landless)? Who will pay for their children's school fees? How many can afford expensive lab manufactured factory food made out of chemicals and synthetic vitamins?” 

Amul is a cooperative society that procures milk from dairy farmers directly. Today, it has become one of the most loved milk brands in India. It offers not only a range of milk such as Golden Milk, but also provides a range of dairy products, including dark chocolate.  

Mr. Sodhi, in his reply to PETA, hit out by saying that switching to vegan milk would imply turning over the resources that were built from farmers’ money to markets selling genetically modified soya at exorbitant prices.  

Moreover, according to Mr. Sodhi, switching to vegan milk will make milk, which is an essential item in everybody’s diet, almost unaffordable because not everybody can shell out money for buying vegan milk, which is costlier than real milk.  

Mr. Sodhi said, “PETA wants Amul to snatch livelihood of 100 million poor farmers and handover its all resources built in 75 years with farmers' money to market genetically modified Soya of rich MNC at exorbitant prices, which the average lower middle class can't afford.”  

PETA’s response after the backlash 

After receiving severe backlash for their letter, PETA cleared the air by saying that it was only informing Amul regarding the current market trends and “encouraging” it to make smart business choices.  

In a tweet, PETA said, “How is letting Amul know about the trend in vegan eating and encouraging them to take advantage of it “dictating”. Smart businesses respond to trends, not fight it.” 

According to FSSAI, not all types of plant-based milk come under the definition of “milk.” According to Amul, "plant-based beverages are impersonating and masquerading as dairy products." 

Read more here: https://krishijagran.com/agriculture-world/amul-slams-firms-selling-almond-soybean-milk-rice-beverages-oats/ 

In this regard, according to the milk cooperative, it had post a few ads on March 24 “in public interest” stating “plant-based dairy analogue products like soya beverages are not milk.”  

PETA, Sharan India, and Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) had filed complaints to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), stating that the claims in ads were false.  

However, ASCI dismissed the complaints and stated that the ads were right. It advocated Amul’s claims that dairy milk is a rich source of vitamins, calcium, fat, carbs, protein, and mineral and is a nutritious drink.  

The holy cow

Holy Cow! It’s not just a phrase in India  

India is a land where cows are worshipped and regarded as Mother. Their milk is considered holy and one of the purest substances on the Earth. Milk is used in worshipping of Gods and Goddesses in India. In rural India, most of the homes keep cows and buffaloes and drink their milk. They don’t even buy milk from shops. It’s a tradition.  

We hope the cows and buffaloes are listening. If they could read, they would have questioned PETA: Is this how you promote animal rights?  

(Sources of Mr. Sodhi’s quotes: NDTV, Hindustan Times) 

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